Anglers are reminded that early season, trout-stocked lakes
closed to fishing at the end of March, and will reopen with opening
day. Opening day in 17 southwestern counties is April 2, and for
the rest of state April 16. Special regulations sections of streams
are open year-round. For more, including a stocking schedule, visit
Lake Erie, Presque Isle Bay, tributaries – Decent steelheading
was reported in mid-March, before rain and snowmelt turned creeks
high and dark green. Fresh jacks were landed on lower Elk Creek as
well as an 11¾-pound holdover steelhead on Walnut Creek March 15.
Bill Logan, of Pleasantville, caught four steelhead March 15, and a
2-pound lake-run brown trout March 17. When southerly winds blew
ice away from the mouths of Trout and Godfrey runs, anglers were
catching steelhead from the lakeshore. Destin DeMarion, of Erie,
caught a jack steelhead on a homemade egg sack under a float at the
mouth of Four Mile Creek March 18. He hooked another on Sixteen
Mile. In Presque Isle Bay, a couple of anglers in jon boats were
targeting perch and crappies in open water at the head of the bay
on the west end. Chunks of ice were still floating elsewhere in the
bay in mid-March.
Pymatuning Reservoir (Crawford County) – This is a shallow lake,
so it tends to warm earlier than others in the region. Ice remained
on parts of the reservoir through mid-March, although anglers were
targeting walleyes and crappies in the open water of the spillway
and the causeway with mixed results. Half a dozen walleye anglers
jigging blade baits off the spillway caught a carp on every cast
March 19, but not one keeper walleye. Sandy Stetson, of Conneaut
Lake Boro, caught a nice black crappie on a live minnow the same
day, but a boater had just one 15-inch walleye to show from five
hours of fishing the current flow. Dave Richter and a buddy caught
a number of perch and just one walleye targeting the edge of an
ice-pack March 19. They launched from Bridge 20 off the Linesville
causeway March 19. Anglers were catching walleyes off the
Espyville-Andover causeway and Espyville Marina wall, with action
best just after dark on March 18.
Conneaut Lake (Crawford County) – Christopher “Brownie” Doven,
of Shaler, caught a 46-inch, 30-pound muskie and Bob Felitsky, of
Shaler, caught a 47-inch, 30-pound muskie while fishing together
Feb. 26. Some of the earliest spring fishing is for crappies in the
canals at the north end of the lake.
Allegheny River (Venango County) – Water was too high and
debris-filled for boating in mid-March, although some anglers were
fishing from limited spots on shore, such as Oil City marina.
Little Sandy Creek (Venango County) – Fly-anglers were catching
newly stocked trout with low, slow presentations given how cold
water remained in mid-March.
Lake Arthur (Butler County) – Even as chunk ice remained in some
of the eastern bays, boaters began appearing on the west end after
launching from Bear Run in mid-March. Anglers were shore fishing
under the 528 Bridge and near the regional park office by the old
Route 422 launch. One angler released two 20-inch largemouth bass
from shore March 14.
Harbor Acres (Butler County) – Anglers were catching recently
stocked trout on this early-season program lake in mid-March.
Hereford Manor lakes (Butler County) – Anglers were catching
recently stocked trout in mid-March. Although anglers must adhere
to size and creel limits on trout, it’s open season on other
species, as the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission prepares to
draw down both the upper and lower lakes for dam removal.
Lake Wilhelm (Mercer County) – Anglers began targeting open
water off Sheakleyville Bridge, a good panfishing spot, in
mid-March, even as some ice hung on to the lake. On March 19, Mark
Arbuckle, of Deer Creek Township, reported a good bluegill bite –
the first in three separate trips – although another angler was
finding fish small. Most were taken on an ice dot lure tipped with
maggots suspended below a bobber.
Shenango Reservoir, Shenango River (Mercer County) – Very high
water submerged the docks at Clark marina and all but the top of
the picnic shelter in mid-March. The river was high and fast, and
anglers were anticipating the white bass run, which typically
occurs in April.
Neshannock Creek (Lawrence County) – Rain increased flow and
added color mid-month although levels were expected to normalize by
the March 20 lunker trout stocking in the delayed-harvest stretch
by Neshannock Creek Fly Shop. Numbers of early black and brown
stoneflies were hatching in mid-March.
Allegheny River (Allegheny County) – Extremely high flow was
reported in mid-March, although a few anglers were fishing the
mouths of some creeks.
Dunlap Creek Lake (Fayette County) – Anglers are catching
recently stocked trout on this early season program lake, as well
as crappies, bluegills and a few bass. A few walleyes, including a
7-pounder, were iced this past winter.
Youghiogheny Reservoir, Youghiogheny River (Fayette, Somerset
counties) – The reservoir was over the banks and into the parking
lot at Jockey Hollow, and the river was high in mid-March.
Canonsburg Dam (Washington County) – Anglers were catching
recently stocked trout on this early season program lake in
Spring Creek (Centre County) – Water was slightly high and in
the low 40s as of March 20. Small to mid-size streamers were
productive, but nymphing with small flies, such as Green Weenies,
Glo-bugs, Sucker Spawn, and red, black, and brown Zebra Midges, was
more effective. Hatches included possible midges and blue-winged
Pine Creek, Little Pine Creek (Lycoming County) – Streams were
dropping, but snow was still on the mountains as of March 20.
Little black stoneflies were hatching and blue quills were expected
to start with higher temperatures.
Fishing Creek (Clinton County) – Slightly above-average but
fishable flow was reported March 20, and blue-winged olives were
expected any day. Water was cold and a little off-color. Anglers
were advised to work edges or soft eddies with streamers and egg
patterns, or to cast streamers to the banks and other in-stream
structure. Nymphing with double-fly rigs under indicators would
work, too. Pheasant Tails, Copper Johns, and Black and Golden
Stoneflies were effective patterns.
Penns Creek (Clinton County) – High but fishable water, a little
off-color and in the 30s, was reported March 20. Streamers and
nymphs were effective, fished deep and slow. Anglers were advised
to cast streamers toward banks and around in-stream structure, or
nymph with double-fly rigs under indicators. Hot patterns were
Green Weenies, Tan Bird of Prey Caddis, Stonefly Nymphs, Pheasant
Tails and other go-to flies.
Raystown Lake (Huntingdon County) – High water in mid-March
forced the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to close boat launches,
however, Rob and Ryan Bowers, of Roaring Spring, fished from shore,
targeting crappies that had moved up into flooded timber.
Little Juniata River (Huntingdon, Blair counties) –
Above-average but fishable flow was reported, and water was cold,
in the upper 30s to low 40s on March 20. Hare’s Ears, Pheasant
Tails, Prince nymphs, Green Weenies, and other basic nymphs and
streamers were productive. Casting streamers to the banks and
around in-stream structure, or nymphing with double-fly rigs under
indicators was recommended.
Spruce Creek (Huntingdon County) – Rainfall and snowmelt turned
water high, off-color and cold in mid-March, and Pheasant Tails,
Hare’s Ears, Green Weenies, and Olive and Tan Caddis Larva were
productive. Midges were a possible hatch.
Lake Wallenpaupack (Pike County) – Ice still remained on much of
the lake in mid-March.
Shohola Lake (Pike County) – Pickerel and bass were reported in
mid-March but launching boats was difficult.
Susquehanna River (Bradford County) – Heavy rainfall mid-month
left the Fish & Boat Commission access flooded.
Lehigh River – Levels were starting to come down after weeks of
high flow, and anglers were catching spawning suckers and chubs, as
of March 20
Hidden Lake (Pike County) – Ice was off here and elsewhere in
the region by mid-March and anglers were catching nice trout.
Ontelaunee Reservoir (Berks County) – A nice crappie bite was
reported in mid-March.
Lake Nockamixon (Bucks County) – The lake began to wake up with
higher surface temperatures in mid-March. A 28-inch striper caught
March 18 kicked off early spring action. Crappie and bass action
also were reported. Morning minnow buyers were returning in the
afternoon to get more bait, according to Nockamixon Sports Shop’s
Matt Deputy. Releases of pre-spawning walleyes were reported, and
muskie action was expected to heat up.
Delaware River – High water was reported March 20.
Lake Towhee (Bucks County) – Anglers were catching pickerel,
bass, channel catfish and a few sunfish on this typically weedy
lake March 20.
Tulpehocken Creek (Lebanon County) – Flow was coming down March
20. Anglers were advised to stick with two-nymph indicator rigs,
such as a San Juan worm and small Zebra Midge. Hatches included
midges (20-26) and blue-winged olives (22-24).
Compiled by Deborah Weisber